In the previous post, we’ve covered the use of the Intel RealSense D415 for scanning industrial scenes, in this post, we will compare two of the main commercial software that you can use to scan and get either a point cloud or a mesh, they might be your start in the scan to BIM industry.
We’ve explained previously that the new Intel SDK V2 is useless when it comes to scanning equipment/equipment rooms, or any scan to BIM in this matter, it’s more optimized towards robotics and motion capture.
This review will be based on our testing with both software for more than a year and trying to scan in multiple locations, we’ll compare the software from the usability, scan quality, and price perspective.
RecFusion is the first software we are going to review, Refusion is compatible with a slew of cameras (L515, D435, D435i, etc.) and not just the D415. There are two main versions of the software in addition to the SDK, the first version is for a single sensor (camera) while the other is for multiple sensors (camera).
The latest version of the software that we did use for testing was RecFusion 2.2, and we were using the single-sensor version. It’s worth noting that we were testing with the evaluation version so we couldn’t export our scans, We’ve tested the software both indoors and outdoors.
During our test, RecFusion was fast to capture the scene and we didn’t have to do multiple passes in order to capture the various aspects of the scene. That doesn’t mean that the scan quality was good, it means that the scan didn’t have many voids that need filling. The overall scan quality was reasonable, straight edges were wavy, with very few details appeared in the scan.
RecFusion user interface wasn’t the easiest to use compared to other software, it wasn’t the hardest too. The main drawback -for our use case- was setting up the scan size before starting, as most of our scans were bigger than the largest scan size.
The major drawback we’ve discovered while scanning with RecFusion was its impact on the laptop’s battery life, for a typical scan using other software we’re used to an average of 2 hours of scanning, with RecFusion that has dropped to just 20 min, making the scan nearly impossible to complete.
Scanning outdoors was of course more challenging than indoors. For example, scanning insulted pipes was challenging both indoors and outdoors, scanning small diameter pipes (1/2″, 1″, etc.) was extremely challenging.
- Easy to use.
- Quickly captures the scene without many voids.
- Reasonably priced.
- Scan quality isn’t the best.
- Quickly depleted the laptop battery.
- Suitable for small scans (objects, persons, etc.) than large industrial scans.
RecFusion Bottom Line
RecFusion is more suitable for scanning objects indoors where the computer used in scanning would be connected to a power outlet and the size of the scan is limited.
Dot3D is the second software we’ve tested, the latest version we’ve tested was Dot3D Pro V4, Dot3D has two main versions for scanning Dot3D Scan and Dot3D Pro, they differ in the widely, from export format to even supported cameras, you can find a list of differences in this post.
We were testing with the evaluation version and when the evaluation duration ended we installed it on another laptop and so on, we were testing the software and it was not used for any commercial purpose. We’ve started testing Dot3D even before V3 was out.
It’s worth noting that we’ve contacted Dot3D team multiple times to have a monthly subscription plan as that would help us better test the software and would help us understand whether we can use it for commercial applications, as their demo videos were not realistic for our use case. Well, they’ve rejected the idea.
Dot3D user interface is extremely easy and simple, set the scene size (which is much larger than RecFusion) and then hit scan. Capturing the scene both indoors and outdoors is more challenging than RecFusion. We had to do multiple passes in order to capture objects in the scene. The software gives visual cues on the quality of the scan while scanning
Red >> very poor.
Yellow >> no details would appear.
Light green >> reasonable details.
Green >> High quality scan with great details.
Capturing insulation cladding was very challenging, scanning small diameter pipes was nearly impossible, Scanning in direct sunlight was also very challenging. To capture details, we had to do multiple passes during which, we kept losing tracking and we had to move to regain tracking and continue the scan.
You can use AprilTags to expand the size of your scan and better improve the quality of any scan, after finishing the scan you can optimize that scan using Dot3D to improve its overall quality.
- Very easy to use.
- Can scan large scenes.
- Doesn’t have a large impact on the laptop battery life which is crucial for mobile scanning.
- reasonable scan quality.
- Losing tracking while scanning.
- Can’t scan if you are moving up or down any staircase.
- Can’t scan highly reflective objects.
- Steep pricing plans.
Dot3D Bottom Line
Dot3D would be suitable for scanning very small equipment rooms, but its steep pricing and current scan quality makes it a far-cry from an optimal start for a scan to BIM solution.
After our test, we’ve decided to move to the Intel RealSense L515 to test it, as the Intel ReaslSense D415 hasn’t improved our workflow, we’ll cover the Intel Realsense L515 in the coming posts.